The beers were flowing quickly at Old Sully’s and the Red Sox were pulling out a close contest one hot, July evening some 13 years ago when an unexpected movie about Charlestown was born.
Ed Callahan, of Charlestown, remembered this week the night when he and several others came up with the idea to put together an all-inclusive movie about the Irish history of Charlestown – a history that would go back to the early 1800s.
One key problem was that none of them had any experience making a movie, yet the end product – ‘The Green Square Mile’ – seemed not to suffer from the lack of industry knowledge.
“This little community once housed 50,000 people,” he said. “It was a true slum. I liken it to the Five Points in New York City, but we probably go back further as an Irish enclave. One thing about the Charlestown Irish community is it’s fading rapidly. Charlestown is no longer a working-class Irish enclave. We wanted to preserve what was here with our movie before it completely disappeared.”
After that hot night in July at Old Sully’s, Callahan and a few others took a serious route to the movie, and 11 months later had produced a pretty astounding film.
“You had a bunch of people who didn’t have a penny or a scintilla of film experience,” he said. “We had no budget, no script, or no idea how to make a film. By God, we produced a film in 11 months and I’m no expert, but I think it’s a pretty good little film. It’s 12 years old now, but I think it’s stood the test of time.”
The film documents the history of the Town from the 1810s to the strong Anti-Catholic sentiment all over Boston and Charlestown in the 1830s and 1840s, and then goes right into the arriving of tens of thousands of new immigrants during the Irish Potato Famine decades. The film carries on into the modern era, touching briefly on sore subjects like the busing era or the crime that took place. But for the most part, it’s an all-inclusive history of a proud neighborhood that no longer exists in the form it did for many generations. The film will be shown at the Bunker Hill Museum on Monument Square March 27, at 7 p.m.